The Redemption of Brandon Marshall, Problem Child Turned Mentor

Depending on which New York football organization you believe, receiver Brandon Marshall is either the same problem child he’s always been or a changed, more mature man.

This offseason, Marshall has been called both a “quitter” and “great leader”, a “dark cloud” and a “breath of fresh air”. His ex-New York Jets teammate Sheldon Richardson claims the team’s locker room “is a whole lot easier to get along with” now that he’s gone, while current New York Giants teammate Eli Manning claims Marshall’s been “setting the example for how to be prepared” since he signed with the team. It’s a conundrum, but one that epitomizes Marshall’s career.

Now entering his 12th NFL season with his fifth different team, Marshall appears to be eating up the opportunity to provide veteran leadership to a young Giants receiving group. It’s an important role considering the group’s burgeoning collective talent and the perception that a few of the guys could use some mentorship. This is especially true of the group’s rising superstar, Odell Beckham Jr.

If there’s anyone who can show Beckham right from wrong, it’s Marshall. After all, it wasn’t that long ago he was the uber-talented young receiver with the “diva” label.

(Image source: Twitter)

“I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, you know,” Marshall said earlier this offseason.

“I’ve been a problem, and I’ve also been a solution. I have a wealth of experience and I just think organically and naturally whenever he needs — not just him but any guy in the receiver room — whenever they need to pull from that, they’ll do that in a natural, organic way… Next year, [Beckham] is not going to be perfect, and the year after that, he’s not going to be perfect,” Marshall said.

“Shoot, I’m 33 and every year I get better and better. I’m never perfect. I just want him to stay on the track that he’s on and continue to mature.”

This statement speaks volumes about Marshall’s own maturation. If you regularly tune into Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” program, you’ve seen the former UCF star’s growth up close. Marshall is measured, insightful and charismatic.

Frankly, it’s hard to believe at times that this is the same guy who was once called a “whiner” and the “Dropped Pass Diva” by a Chicago columnist during his tenure as a Bear. Or the same guy the Jets gladly let walk out the locker room and into the open arms of the team they share a stadium with.

It should be noted that Marshall’s past issues can be attributed to a medical condition. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a mental disorder that makes it difficult to process emotions, hold relationships and sustain a sense of self. Those who suffer from it are prone to self-deprecating actions, including self-harm. With the knowledge of his condition, Marshall has obtained the power to live freely as himself — the real Brandon Marshall.

While his detractors say otherwise, this Brandon Marshall is a guy we can all rally behind.